Monthly Archives: January 2013

Friday Letters

Dear Father in Law,

Thank you for watching Haley while Mike and I went out on our first date night out since we moved to MO back in October.  It was so nice to have some time alone with him.  Also, thanks for picking up pizza for dinner tonight so that I don’t have to cook.

Dear Bunheads,

I am so happy you’re back for season 2.  For anyone that loved Gilmore Girls, this is a must see.  It’s not quiet as awesome as GG, but it has the same random references and quick talking.  Also, it’s fun to see what Gilmore Girls actors show up.  So far I’ve seen 8.

Dear Readers,

Yes this is the third post for today.  I wasn’t going to do Friday Letters, but after reading other’s, I changed my mind.  It’s my blog, so I can do whatever I want.

Dear Les Mis,

I can’t wait to see you on Sunday!  Should I bring tissue?

Dear Cold (the sickness, not the weather),

I am ready for you to leave my house now.  You have got us all, stuffy noses galore at my place.  You have officially wore out your welcome now that Haley has an ear infection.  Please make you way to the door and don’t let it hitcha.




linkin up with Ashley


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KatieDidWhat Giveaway!

If you’re in need of a great dress, and what girl isn’t?- head on over to Katie Did What and enter her Shabby Apple Giveaway for a chance to win a $50 gift card.

She’s celebrating reaching 500 followers.  Way to go Katie!


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Masque of Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death, #1)

Masque of Red Death

by Bethany Griffin

Book 1

YA, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, Steampunk


ISBN 9780062107794

love love love Edgar Allan Poe’s works.  They’re creepy, and twisted and so weird.  Annabel Lee is one of my favorite poems.(I went to put in one line, but couldn’t pick just one, so you get the last two stanzas, enjoy)

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we—

Of many far wiser than we—

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;


For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In her sepulchre there by the sea—

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

So beautiful, so tragic, so creepy!

So when I saw this book and heard it was inspired by EAP’s short story Masque of Red Death, I was all over it.  The book is set in an indeterminate time and place.  While at times it seems that the story is as if the plague in the 1300s spread farther and affected the whole world, they have some modern-ish technology like electricity and tall buildings.  However, they never mention cars or planes having ever existed.  So let’s just say the time and setting is completely fictional.  Like I said before, the premise of this book is that a horrible and deadly plague has “decimated the population” and left everyone else afraid to even be near other humans.  The rich can afford to wear specially designed masks that allow them to breathe the infected air without becoming sick, and to pay the poor to go out into the world for them.  The poor live in squalor, many not able to afford masks for their children.  The disease is highly contagious and corpse collectors are a common sight on the streets.  They live in a society ruled by Prince Prospero, who is rumored to be a little crazy.

Araby, our narrator, is one of the rich, her father in fact designed the masks that saved many lives.  She lives a protected life in the Akkadian towers with her parents and the memory of her dead brother.  To escape the terror of everyday life, Araby and her friend April go to the Debauchery Club, for drinking, drugs, and everything else that name suggests.

Ok, so I loved this story, but the writing isn’t all that great.  I didn’t think it was possible for me to be so interested in a story line that was so poorly written.  The narration jumped around a lot.  It almost felt like stream of consciousnesses, but not really. I didn’t understand some of Araby’s feelings and motives, they just weren’t explained.  I mean, I understand why she feels responsible for her brother’s death, but what makes her feel her parents wished it was her instead of him?  And please someone explain to me why she would ever trust Elliot!  Seriously, the guy’s an ass-hat and more than a little psycho.  I almost understand her trying to help him because they kind of want the same things, but I have no idea why she would begin to care for him.  I guess we needed the requisite love triangle.

So why did I like this story?  The society they live in is dangerous, they can’t trust anyone, there is a disease they can catch at any moment, there is a man out there trying to create a mutiny.  And then there is Will.  Definitely team Will from the beginning.  I don’t even know why there is any question, okay well there is one thing…

And for the Edgar Allan Poe tie in,this book creates the backdrop for what’s going on in the kingdom while Prince Prospero is having his lavish party.  I am interested in how the next book(s) fit in all this.

And I have to say how much I loved the way this book was put together.  The edges are slightly frayed, it looks a bit worn and old.  And there is this smoke image going through the chapters.

And read this first line…


Isn’t that a great first line?

The second book The Dance of Red Death comes out in April and I am looking forward to it.

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This n’ That Thursday

Linkin up again this Thursday with Katie and Jena for more This N That randomness!

This:  Poor Haley has been sick for almost a week now, runny nose and coughing.  It sucks so much when she’s sick because there is so little I can do to make her feel better.  That and we have not been able to see any of our friends because I would hate for her to get another little one sick.  So I took her to the doc today and all she has is a cold and a slight ear infection.  I know that’s not great, but I went in because the nurse told me it might be respiratory syntactical virus (RSV).  So some antibiotics for a little over a week and hopefully she’s be all better.


Even all sick with red cheeks and nose, big smile.

That:  I am becoming a little obsessed with the Organix product.  Last week when I said that I bought the shampoo and conditioner, Beth at a latte inspiration told me that she loves their body lotion.  My response was “OMG (and I never say OMG) they make body lotion!” and I immediately went out and bought some.  And she was right, it’s wonderful.  So thanks Beth for the suggestion. 

This:  Yesterday I got pretty lucky.  I bought a Little Tikes Victorian kitchen for Haley at the consignment shop around the corner.  I was pretty stoked.  I have grown to love Kid’s Kloset.  I also got her two adorable denim skirts and a denim jacket there.  Anyway, I have wanted to get her a play kitchen since I saw the one my friend got for her daughter at Christmas but was debating if it was worth spending the money.  Well, for $40 it was worth it.  So I got it home ( I have a pretty great story about how I got it home, but it’s a bit long for today’s post), got it disinfected and now we have a tiny kitchen in our tiny kitchen.  Now plans to make a tiny apron are starting.


Sorry, no good pics right now because…

That:  My cameras and my computer are not communicating well which is no fun because I can’t get any of the photos off my cameras and into my posts, so you’re all stuck with the crappy camera phone pictures, which isn’t anything new except I was making an attempt to get some better quality pictures up (Holy run-on sentence Batman!).  This really irritates me because we finally got our nice camera back.  Let’s hope my husband can figure it out ’cause I sure can’t.


Hope every has a wonderful week.


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What’s on the Menu Monday

Welcome to

What’s on the Menu Monday!

We can start off the week swapping ideas for dinner for the week, or just share a couple great recipes.  Whatever floats your boat.

I have wanted to make a ham since Christmas, but since it’s just Mike, Haley, my Father in Law, and me, I did not want to make a ginormous 7+ pound ham.  Last Christmas there were like 9 of us and we didn’t even eat the whole thing.  But I really wanted to make a ham.  Then one of my neighbors told me I can buy a much smaller ham, like 3 pounds.  Whoa, who knew?  Well I didn’t and I was thrilled.  So I got one at Hy-Vee, 2.5 lbs for $6.99.  This is the recipe I used.  Since I didn’t have a 7 lb ham, I changed the serving size to 7 and used those measurements.  I used crushed pinapple instead of rings because, well, that’s what I had. Also, I felt it was cooking way too slowly so I upped the temp to 400.  I use a meat thermometer, so I don’t know how long I cooked it, but I read somewhere 15 mins per pound.  Since it’s already cooked and technically you’re just warming it up you don’t have to worry about under cooked meat. The last 5 degrees I put the oven on broil and it was Awesome!  My husband, who keeps telling me he doesn’t like ham but who enjoys it whenever I make it, loved it.  Definitely going to make this again.

IMAG1209 (1)

The rest of the week:


French’s Onion Chicken

Sloppy Joes

Stuffed Pepper Casserole

Hummus Crusted Chicken– first time I made with plain hummus, this time I think Roasted Red Pepper.

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<div align="center"><a href="" title="Reading, Writing, and Whatnot" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Reading, Writing, and Whatnot" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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Friday Letters

Dear Mike,

I am loving the iPod you got me for Christmas and they way it connects to my car (I can control it from my dash stereo, so cool) and I promise I will try very hard not to lose this one. Cross my heart and hope to die.

Dear Snow,

You’re so pretty, and I’m liking you a lot more than I thought I was going to.  It doesn’t hurt that it snowed Monday and it’s almost gone today.

Dear Needles from my Christmas Tree that I threw out on Monday,

WHY WONT YOU GO AWAY!  I am tired of cleaning you up, finding you all over my house, and -worst of all- stepping on you and getting poked.

Dear Haley’s WubaNub,

You’ve been a great comfort to her, but I think it’s about time we let you go.  Well, soon-ish. Definitely some time this year.





Linking up with Ashley The Sweet Season

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This n That Thursdays


This:  Okay, so I realized last night that whenever I get a brand new shampoo bottle, I read the directions.  I don’t know what I’m expecting to find, I doubt there is any novel way to shampoo and/or condition my hair since the last brand I purchased.  But every time I read the directions.  Is that weird?  I think it’s a little weird.  This is my new shampoo.


So far I like it, and it doesn’t have any of that Sodium laureth sulfate or Sodium lauryl sulfate that’s supposed to be bad for your hair.  Right now it’s on sale at Walgreens for $4.99, and buy one get one 50% off.  Pretty awesome considering it’s usually $7.99.

THAT:  I changed my blog name from “Utopia is a bookstore” to “Reading, Writing, & Whatnot”…  Thought it was a good time for a change, New year, new name.  What do you think?

This:  All week long I can think of things to write on my This n That Thursday blog post, then when it comes time to write it down, BLANK!

THAT:  I had my second soccer game in two years last night.  Scored a goal and at least one assist.  I felt a lot better last night than I did the first game back.   So happy to be playing again.


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New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  It’s that time again, to make some resolutions that don’t last very long.  This year I intend to make s solid attempt to follow through with at least some of my resolution, so I’m going to make a ton.  That way at I figure some will stick.

1.  Drink less soda/drink more water. I say this often, and I usually mean it, but lately I really haven’t been drinking enough water.  So That’s number one, drink more water.

2.  Work out more.  I have Just Dance 4, multiple work out videos, and I don’t work.  I really don’t have any good excuses to not work out more.

3. Write more.  More blog posts (at least 3 a week), more journaling, just more.

4.  Take more pictures of myself.  I know that sounds totally vain, but when I went to get pictures of myself, I have almost non.  I want more pictures of me with Haley, and me with my husband, and some of just me.

5.  Clean more.  I am not the best housekeeper.  I do not enjoy cleaning, at all.  But it is something that means a lot to my husband, and since he works so and I get to stay home it’s something that I can make more of an effort to do.


So that’s it.  I wrote it down and you all saw it, so there’s no denying it. Now time to follow through.  Hope all you’re New Year’s resolutions are successful.  Now I’m gonna go watch TV

= P.

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